Ever since then-US President Obama took office with his misconceived pro-Iran foreign policy, the Iranian regime has run rings around world opinion. The nuclear deal with Tehran, brokered by Obama in 2015, was promoted as a way of both resolving the long‑standing controversy over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and also encouraging the regime to join the so-called “comity of nations”.
Turkey & Iran
Alarm bells went off last September in Washington’s corridors of power when John Bolton’s national security council asked the Pentagon for options for military strikes against Iran.
The dynamics of the Iranian state make for an intriguing case study. Informed observers maintain that two strong internal forces are pursuing irreconcilable political objectives. On the one hand there is the reformist camp, concerned about the people’s welfare and willing to engage with the outside world. On the other, there is the “deep state”, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supported by the powerful IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps), dedicated to upholding and strengthening the Islamic Revolution. It is the deep state that has complete dominance over the country’s political affairs, and can exercise its will in defiance…
Introduction From the establishment of the Turkish State in 1923 by its founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk until 1974, the Turkish government had opposed the rights and demands of its Kurdish population. In 2013 after almost four decades of conflict, a cease in hostilities was announced between the Turkish state and Kurdish militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). However, the ceasefire between the two sides did not last. After the success of the Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey’s 2015-elections, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unilaterally announced the end of Turkey’s cease-fire with the PKK resuming the conflict between…
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s autocratic president, is a past-master at seizing the moment and turning it to his political advantage. The latest example is the Jamal Khashoggi affair, which he has managed masterfully, gaining a steadily increasing advantage over his prime rivals in the Muslim world – Saudi Arabia. But how secure is he against repercussions?
With Turkish investigators asserting that they have found further evidence that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed when he visited the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago, Turkey appears to be leveraging the case to enhance its position as a leader of the Islamic World and reposition itself as a key US ally.
Trump administration’s decision to withdraw itself from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action followed by its announcement to re-impose sanctions is viewed as one of the most disruptive geopolitical events of recent times. This has thrown down the gauntlet to India to recalibrate its ties with both the US and Iran. However, the upcoming high-level 2+2 dialogue certainly holds the key to this challenge.
Rumbles of discontent, erupting into public protests, are nothing new in Iran. They predate the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which swept the Shah from the throne and Ayatollah Khomeini into power. Today, among the slogans being chanted in the mass demonstrations bursting out all over Iran and threatening the very stability of the regime, are: “Reza Shah, God bless your soul.” In short, the regime of the ayatollahs has long outlived its honeymoon period.
With the US pullout from the nuclear deal, Iran will soon face renewed economic sanctions, compounding a crisis that has seen its currency go into free-fall. On top of that, the Trump administration has signalled its readiness for political and perhaps even military confrontation with the Islamic Republic. These are very real pressures, but I would argue that they don’t threaten the ruling mullahs nearly as much as a growing domestic development: the prospect of unveiled Iranian women.
That the current Iranian regime poses a problem for the free world is a fact of life. It even poses a problem for Russia, its de facto ally in the Syrian conflict. But the Iranian dilemma comes into even sharper focus following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, and the escalation of long-standing tensions between Iran and Israel into open military skirmishes.